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Valley News Dispatch

Erin McClelland drops bid for Congress, endorses Conor Lamb against U.S. Rep Keith Rothfus

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 7:57 p.m.
U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, and Erin McClelland of Harrison at a debate at Penn State Beaver on Oct. 6, 2016. McClelland announced Tuesday, March 20, 2018 that she will not seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Rothfus in this fall's election for the new 17th Congressional District, and instead is encouraging Democrats to support Conor Lamb.
Tribune-Review file
U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, and Erin McClelland of Harrison at a debate at Penn State Beaver on Oct. 6, 2016. McClelland announced Tuesday, March 20, 2018 that she will not seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Rothfus in this fall's election for the new 17th Congressional District, and instead is encouraging Democrats to support Conor Lamb.
Erin McClelland
Submitted
Erin McClelland
Conor Lamb
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Conor Lamb

Erin McClelland announced Tuesday that she is dropping her bid for Congress and is asking Democrats to support Conor Lamb for representative of the new 17th Congressional District.

McClelland, 42, of Harrison ran unsuccessfully against Republican U.S. Rep Keith Rothfus of Sewickley in the former 12th Congressional District in 2014 and 2016.

McClelland's announcement came about three weeks after her announcement that she would be entering the race for the Democratic Party's nomination. She said she was motivated largely by the new district map put out by the state Supreme Court, which she said would give her better odds of defeating Rothfus.

The court in January struck down the state's congressional boundaries as unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Republicans. The court put out a new map after the state Legislature failed to do so by the court's deadline.

The new map is expected to stand for the May 15 primary, after Republicans on Monday lost two federal court challenges.

Lamb, of Mt. Lebanon, is seeking the nomination in the new 17th Congressional District. He narrowly defeated Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone in a special election March 13 for the former 18th Congressional District seat.

The new map separates Lamb and Saccone. Under the new map, Saccone, of Elizabeth Township, resides in the new 18th District.

In a release, McClelland said she is calling on Democrats to unite behind Lamb, calling him “unequivocally the most viable candidate in the current field of challengers to beat Keith Rotfhus.

“Now, with a solid victory for working families already under his belt, the people of these great working class communities will have a fair and unified 17th District and a well-funded candidate with the national backing essential to defeating Rothfus in November,” she said.

“I am personally looking forward to working with the Lamb campaign to end Keith Rothfus's reign in Western Pennsylvania and finish what I started.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, brittmeyer@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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